For the second straight year, the Grayson County boys soccer team has won the 11th District championship, 2-1 over the Meade County Green Wave, in a game played at the Cougar Soccer Complex.
The Cougars got first-period scoring from juniors Bahaa el Masri and Josh Stevenson and made them hold up for the win.
The ball went back and forth in the early going of the first half, with both teams putting pressure on the other’s goal. In the fourth minute of play freshman Wyatt Clemons put a shot on goal that went over the net.
In the 20th minute of play, Meade’s sophomore Zach Yates had a free kick from about 35 yards out that Cougar goal keeper, Sophomore Jackson Kane was able to halt.
But less than a minute later, senior Matt Haycraft was racing toward the Green Wave goal with el Masri on his left wing. Haycraft passed to el Masri near the penalty area and the Cougar junior put the ball into the net past Wave senior goalie, Kyler Chapman to make it 1-0.
The Green Wave began applying heavy pressure in the Cougar end of the field, with several chances being turned aside, but it was the Cougars who added on.
With around five minutes left in the first half, junior mid-fielder Josh Stevenson was in control of the ball about 40 yards out in front of the Wave goal. Maneuvering skillfully through a number of defenders, Stevenson put the ball past Chapman and the Cougars led 2-0, which was how the first half ended.
The Waves kept up pressure on Kane at the start of the second half. In the 42nd minute, the Waves had a free kick just outside the penalty area, but the ball was shot well over the goal.
In the 45th minute Kane dove out of his goal to punch away a scoring chance. A minute later Kane had to punch another shot over the top of the goal.
The Cougars had their chances as well. In the 47th minute Haycraft put a shot off the cross bar.
The Waves had pressure on the Cougar goal in the 49th minute, but Kane punched away another shot, and the return volley was headed away by another Cougar defender.
The Cougars then began applying steady pressure on the Green Wave goal. Haycraft had a free kick from about 40 yards travel just wide in the 62nd minute.
In the 66th minute, a Green Wave player seemed to have been guilty of a handball inside the penalty area, but the official chose not to make the call.
Then, in the 70th minute of play, the Waves were awarded a free kick just outside the penalty area. Junior Grayson Pollock stepped up to take it and curled a ball just inside the right post to cut the Cougar lead to just a goal at 2-1.
Both teams had chances in the final 10 minutes of play, but neither team could add on. Following the game district awards were handed out. Academic awards went to Meade’s Zander Hurley and Grayson County’s Miles Hornbeck.
All Regular Season recognition went to Meade’s Pollock, Bryson Schmidt and Chase Smith. For Grayson County: Hornbeck, Haycraft and Stevenson.
Named for outstanding performances in the District Tournament were Pollock and Carter McCoy for Meade, and Haycraft, Hornbeck and Kane for Grayson County.
By Don Brown, Local Sports
Reach Don at firstname.lastname@example.org